Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Sister Missionary Valentine's Day!

"Sister Tanner's week started off in the most exciting way possible! Her and Sister King got a car, and a brand new car at that! Although, they were only able to drive it for a few minutes, it was the best 1.5 miles ever! "We got to drive one of the brand new mission cars from the mission office to the church building! It was pretty much the best 1.5 mile car ride of my life! Brand new Subaru! Only 18 miles on it! We had way too much fun taking pics and pretending we were car Missionaries! Only in our dreams", Sister Tanner said. Driving the new car around, and playing volleyball was a fun way of spending her p-day! "I'm finally pretty good at volleyball", she said! 

That night, Sister Tanner was able to spend Family Home Evening with a great family from her ward. She taught a great lesson about love and service! What a perfect lesson for the week of Valentine's day! "I love their family", Sister Tanner said of them! The husband who is not a member of the church, told her afterwards that she teaches with such confidence. This meant so much to Sister Tanner! "It hit me that the time we spend with them and the lessons we have so often, really are benefiting him. I never think he's paying attention during our lessons, but his comment made me realize he is, and that his heart will be softened and he will join the church one day! We are making a difference", she said. Sister Tanner truly loves this family so much, and is happy to have the opportunity to bring the gospel into the husband's life! 

At the District Meeting on Tuesday, Sister Tanner and the other Missionaries were able to all share their testimonies with one another. It was a very powerful meeting! "It was so cool to hear everyone's testimonies and personal experiences. The spirit was so strong", Sister Tanner said. Later that night, Sister Tanner and Sister King got lost in a scary neighborhood. A sweet member of the ward came to rescue them! She is so grateful for the sweet and selfless members of her ward, who are always willing to drop everything to help the Missionaries! 

Wednesday was a beautiful, bright, sunshiny day in Wisconsin! "It was way warm! Like 20 degrees! We were sweating! Haha", Sister Tanner said. It was also a very productive day for the Sisters! They helped their dear friend, whom they have been teaching for awhile, pack for her move. She is moving to Iowa at the end of the month. Sister Tanner is so sad that she is moving, and hopes she will continue in her progression of the gospel once she moves. After helping her pack, Sister Tanner had a lesson with an older couple whom she has been teaching. They have been faithful in keeping their commitment of reading the Book of Mormon. She hopes they will continue to study the scriptures, and pray to know that they are true. 

Sister Tanner had her weekly planning on Thursday morning. It seems to take forever, but is so beneficial in organizing all her lessons and appointments for the week. She was able to get ahold of many of her investigators, which was wonderful! (Below is a picture of her planner.)

That night, was another Taco Talk Thursday at one of her favorite ward member's homes! What a fun night to get together and share the gospel, all while eating yummy tacos! She also made gluten free Trifle for a Valentine treat! This is one of Sister Tanner's favorite treats from home! What a special night it was! "Love her", Sister Tanner said!

When the Sisters arrived home that night, they received some sad news. The Relief Society President from their ward's husband passed away unexpectedly. He was not a member of the church. Sister Tanner had the beautiful opportunity of getting to know him, and teach him the gospel. The Relief Society President sadly came home from work, and found him dead. He was only 51 years old. The cause of death is still unknown. "It really hit us", Sister Tanner said. "I realized that the last time we saw him, was when Sister Hancock had to go to the doctor for her foot. He told us then that he really respects us. That's the last time I saw him", Sister Tanner said. Although he passed away before accepting the gospel here on earth, Sister Tanner is certain he will. Her testimony of the Plan of Salvation, and of temple work is touching. "I know that he will accept the gospel in the spirit world, and that he will do whatever it takes to be with his wife again. Our hearts broke for her, because she doesn't have any family around to comfort her. I realized how grateful I am for each of you and that we are sealed as a family. I am grateful for our knowledge that this life is just one small part of the plan, and that no matter what happens to any of us, we will see each other again. Because of the comfort and knowledge the gospel gives us of this, his wife is doing surprisingly okay. The funeral will be tomorrow afternoon. Please keep this family in your prayers", Sister Tanner said. What a powerful message that Sister Tanner is sharing. We can all be together again, regardless of death. The gospel provides us this reassurance. She has faith that he will accept the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world. She knows he will be with his wife again one day, for eternity.

Friday was filled with so much love! It was Valentine's day! Sister Tanner was able to show the love of Christ by giving service. She helped the woman moving to Iowa pack her place up! She was also able to teach a less active member. It was a fun day! "We gave out valentine grams to everyone we saw. Seriously, we brought a bunch with us and would just give some out to random people we saw on the street. We hope it made their day", Sister Tanner said! We are sure that she touched so many lives that day! She was sharing the greatest love of all, Christ's love.

For dinner that night, Sister Tanner ate at a fun young couple's home. "It was so nice of them to include us on Valentine's day", she said. That night, one of her favorite ward members came by their apartment. The family brought the Sisters a heart shaped pizza! "It was such a nice thought of them! We had such a fun day", Sister Tanner said. It seems that many ward members went out of their way to make sure the Sisters felt loved on Valentine's day. Sister Tanner certainly felt the love! What a beautiful Valentine's day!

On Saturday, Sister Tanner received the news about the funeral. She was told that there will be many nonmembers there, including his family. The Relief Society President told them it will be a wonderful missionary opportunity. "She is the most selfless person ever to be thinking of missionary stuff during this time. I love her", Sister Tanner said. Later that day, Sister Tanner and Sister King went to lunch with a member of their ward. They were taken on a tour of a beautiful Catholic cathedral. It was built by Polish immigrants a long time ago. "It was really pretty", Sister Tanner said. "But somehow, it strengthened my testimony of our church and the real beauty of our temples, and not the glitz and glam of it, but because of the sacredness and spirit that is in our houses of worship." As the Sisters continued their day, they started to feel really discouraged as they could not contact anyone. "We were feeling really discouraged and I could feel Satan trying to make me feel like our hard work is not even worth it. It's the first time on my mission I was thinking like, what's the point of being here if we work so hard and see no fruits from it! We were both feeling pretty bummed, and we were waiting on the corner for a bus, freezing. We thought to start singing hymns. We started to sing every hymn we could think of. All of the sudden, I felt so much better. I knew that Heavenly Father is proud of my hard work, and that he was there. Singing hymns can do so much", Sister Tanner said. Every missionary has hard days and trying times. Sister Tanner was able to use that experience to strengthen her testimony of music. She knows it can bring peace and comfort during challenging times. It also invites the spirit wherever you are. 

"Sunday was an amazing day", as Sister Tanner put it. One of the less active members whom Sister Tanner has been teaching, came to church! "It was her first time in years! We were so happy she was there", Sister Tanner said. The Sisters had been fasting and praying to be able to have the opportunity to meet with a friend of someone from Church. She is not a member, but has been attending Church every week. She hasn't wanted to meet with the missionaries yet. However, the answer to Sister Tanner's prayers came during Relief Society that day. She saw the Missionary Dinner Calendar, and the woman had signed up to feed them! "She signed up to have us over! Direct answer to our prayers! She is so ready and prepared for the gospel, and we can't wait to teach her and help her come closer to making covenants", Sister Tanner said. She is so excited! What a wonderful Sabbath it was! "Me and Sister King were going crazy over our spiritual uplifting day", she said. 

Sister Tanner's week was full of so much love! She was able to share the pure love of Christ with so many people. She may have had some challenging times, and sad moments, but with every trial her testimony of the gospel is strengthened. She is such a strong and confident Missionary, and has so much love for the gospel. 

Sister Tanner's Thoughts and Testimony:

"Missionary work is so bipolar! One day is the worst day ever, and the next day is the best day ever! I love it! All the hard times are so worth it!"

"During my studies this week, I read a conference talk from Bonnie Oscarson called, "Be Ye Converted". I love it! It talked about how we can't force people to be converted, we can't do it for them, but the more converted we become, our desire to share the gospel will increase! I know this is true! I love you all so very much! I know Heavenly Father is there for us during hard times and during good times. I know he hears and answers our prayers and that this is exactly where he needs me to be. He loves us so much! I love you all!"

"Your personal conversion will help you as you prepare to make covenants in the temple, serve missions, and establish your own future homes. As you are converted, you will have a desire to share with others what you have learned, and your confidence and ability to testify to others with conviction and power will increase. This desire to share the gospel with others and the confidence to testify boldly are natural results of true conversion. The Savior taught Peter, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
"Living the gospel and standing in holy places is not always easy or comfortable, but I testify that it is worth it! The Lord counseled Emma Smith to "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better". I suspect we cannot begin to imagine just how magnificent those "things of a better" world are!"
- Bonnie L. Oscarson ("Be Ye Converted" October 2013 General Conference)

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